Crime comedy: "Amsterdam" with Christian Bale and many top stars

In the 1930s, an unbelievable fascist political conspiracy took place in the United States that could have had serious consequences.

Crime comedy: "Amsterdam" with Christian Bale and many top stars

In the 1930s, an unbelievable fascist political conspiracy took place in the United States that could have had serious consequences. Based on this, director and author David O. Russell ("Silver Linings", "American Hustle") shot his film "Amsterdam". Christian Bale, John David Washington and Margot Robbie star in the ensemble film, which is a blend of whodunnite and political crime with elements of screwball comedy.

In 1933, New York attorney Harold Woodman (cool: Washington) asks his friend and doctor, Burt Berendsen (crank: Bale with Curls), with whom he was stationed in France during World War I, to perform an autopsy on Senator Meekins. Meekins was commander of her regiment during the war and died under mysterious circumstances. In fact, Burt finds poison in the senator's stomach. When they meet Meekin's daughter, Elizabeth (superstar Taylor Swift in a cameo role), she dies too - and Burt and Harold are suddenly considered suspects.

What then follows is a curious chain of events and encounters with people, with the help of which the war friends not only want to prove their innocence, but also try to find out who or what is behind all the incidents. Her close friend Valerie (Margot Robbie), with whom Burt and Harold once lived happily in Amsterdam, reappears. Fun-loving nurse and Dadaist artist Valerie seems to have changed in strange ways.

Meticulous work on the film

"Amsterdam" is essentially based on true events. However, the characters and their experiences are mostly fictional. One didn't just want to tell the story, said leading actor Bale in an interview with the German Press Agency in London. "What makes the film special is seeing how ordinary people deal with such a situation," said the 48-year-old. "We wanted to create people that we would want to hang out with ourselves, that we would want to be best friends with." The city of Amsterdam is also a symbol of good times, of an escape from the dreary atmosphere of war.

US director Russell is known as a meticulous filmmaker who works out every screenplay down to the last detail and extensively discusses the plot and the roles with his stars. "It's been five or six years since David first called me about this," Bale said. Russell, who has already been nominated five times for an Oscar, and his top star worked on the film for years.

"I have a big stack of scripts," says Bale. "There were big characters that came and went, huge scenes and subjects that were in and then weren't." And yet "Amsterdam" still seems a bit overloaded with long flashbacks and countless characters, some of whom are not relevant to the plot at all.

On the other hand, the many stars who obviously had fun in front of the camera make "Amsterdam" quite entertaining. "A lot of what you see on the screen resembles the mood on the set," confirmed Margot Robbie of the German Press Agency. "There are so many big personalities, it's impossible not to have fun when the camera isn't rolling. You wanted to stay on set even when you didn't have a scene to shoot. It was wonderful."

Christian Bale als humpelnder Veteran

The top-class and enthusiastic cast includes in smaller and larger roles, among others, Chris Rock, Michael Shannon, Zoe Saldana, Rami Malek, Alessandro Nivola, Anya Taylor-Joy and last but not least Robert De Niro. Mike Myers is wonderfully funny as British agent Paul Canterbury. In the original English version, the US comedian and "Austin Powers" star once again shines with a British accent. Bale is also on top form as a limping war veteran who wears a glass eye (as he did in The Big Short).

Unfortunately, the visually great and at times very funny film is a bit lengthy, despite a few successful surprises. The conspiracy story is intriguing. But "Amsterdam" meanders occasionally. Due to the many details, as a spectator you have to be careful not to lose the thread - or patience - during the 135 minutes. One can almost overlook the fact that, despite all the comedy, "Amsterdam" also deals with important aspects such as dealing with racism and the fight for equality.

"Amsterdam" - Film website des Verleihs